The amount that babies sleep, even when they are very small, varies a lot. During the early weeks some babies sleep for most of the time between feeds. Others will be wide awake. As they grow older, they begin to develop a pattern of waking and sleeping. Some babies need more sleep than others and at different times. Try not to compare what your baby does with other people’s babies. All babies are different, and their routines will change as they grow.
You will gradually begin to recognize when your baby is ready for sleep and is likely to settle. Some babies settle better after a warm bath. Most sleep after a good feed. A baby who wants to sleep is not likely to be disturbed by ordinary household noises, so there is no need to keep your home quiet while your baby sleeps. It will help you if your baby gets used to sleeping through a certain amount of noise.
Tips for good sleep habits for your baby:
1. Follow a consistent, calming bedtime routine
Overstimulation in the evening can make it difficult for your baby to settle to sleep. Try cuddling, bathing, massaging, singing, and playing soft music or reading, with a clearly defined end-point of making the baby sleep. Begin these activities before the baby is overtired in a quiet and softly lit room.
2. Put your baby drowsy but awake in bed
This will help your baby associate bed with the process of falling asleep. Remember to place the baby to sleep on his/her back on a firm sleeping surface such as a crib with a tight-fitting sheet.
3. Give your baby time to settle down
Your baby may cry or fuss before finding a comfortable position and falling sleep. If the crying doesn’t stop check on your baby to ensure they are okay.
4. Keep your nighttime care low-key
When your baby needs care or feeding during the night, use dim lights, soft voice and calm movements. This will tell your baby it’s time to sleep not playing.
5. Respect your baby’s preference
If your baby is a night owl or an early bird, you might want to adjust your routines and schedules based on these natural patterns
Take time to understand your baby’s habit and ways of communicating so that you can help him or her become a good sleeper. If you have concerns talk to the pediatrician for more assistance
Helping baby sleep through the night. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/baby-sleep/art-20045014.
Berkowitz CD. Normal patterns and common disorders. In: Berkowitz's Pediatrics: A Primary Care Approach. 5th ed. Elk Grove Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2014.
Shelov SP, et al. Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5. 6th ed. New York, N.Y.: Bantam Books; 2014.